Lesson 2.1 – Assignment 2.3
The stories of home, written by my fellow students, were illuminating. As I wrote my story, and then read through each of my classmate’s stories, I noticed there were many similarities. I also found that each story was unique. We all travel our own journey through life, and every one of us has a different experience. The stories we shared are as similar, and as different, as Whistler is to Vancouver.
The three blogs that resonated the most with me were: Cam Bullen , Janine Flemings, and Julia Ullrich. Some commonalities that I found included: Feeling safe, blending in, belonging, speaking a common language, labels that are placed on us, and the stories we are told.
Home is where we feel safe. That includes both our physical safety, as well as the safety to express our true selves. In order to have the room for each of us to grow as individuals, we need to be able to experience who we are. In that way we can truly learn and grow. But first we need to be in an environment where we are safe. Cam has noticed, after living in numerous different countries and environments, that security is an intrical component in what constitutes home. If fear exists, then it is not home.
Often we feel we need to blend in, or else we will not fit in. However, if you capitulate on who you really are, just to fit in, then you are sacrificing your soul. You are not being true to yourself. Home is where you do not need to blend in, because you are accepted, with your faults and with your gifts. It is harmful when we try to be something we are not. Home is where we do not need to be ashamed, because we are celebrated. Janine shared her story about the hostile environment she experienced when she moved to New Fairfield, Connecticut. When there, she was told she did not belong, and after awhile she started to believe it, because (as she noted) this happens when we hear the same story again and again. This comment resonated with me, because I too have experienced this – as I believe all of us have in one form or another. Janine makes an important and relevant connection between the stories that we are told about ourselves, and the impact they have on our lives. There is also a scientific reason that this is true. In this article from Frontiers in Psychology, the authors discourse centres around a study that was done (Horst). The study shows how repetition is tied in directly to learning. Although the article focuses on language development, the key point is valid. When a child, or a person, hears the same thing over and over, they encode what is heard.
Belonging is important. When we belong to a family or a community, we feel connected, because we are included. Belonging also creates a feeling of safety. When we belong, we know the people around us care for us, and will protect us. As we would for them. When we are in situations where we are excluded, and treated as an outsider, then we feel alone and isolated – because we are alone and isolated. In Julie’s story, she felt home was where she was loved, and where she belonged. For her, home is in her parent’s house in White Rock where the walls themselves breath out love and call her name.
Speaking a common language is important. Each of us needs to be heard, but first we need to be understood. This can only happen when the person that we are communicating with is open to hearing what we are saying. Speaking a common language is not the language you use, it is the willingness for each side to really hear what the other is saying.
The labels that are put on us influence and mould us. Brenna Hicks in her website the Kid Counselor, discusses the dangers of using labels, “[c]hildren develop and define their sense of self by processing what others tell them about who they are” (Hicks). We carry those labels with us where ever we go, and those labels create our stories. Stories that are told to us, or stories that we tell our selves. When you are told the same story over and over, you start to believe it. We live our stories, and if we change our stories we change our lives.
For me, all of these factors are part of what creates the environment of home. Home is not necessarily a place, but instead is a place of mind. Home is where you connect with the ones you love.
Hicks, Brenna. “The Problem with Labelling.” The Kid Counselor. 30 Jan. 2008. Web. 10 June 2016.
Horst, Jessica S., Kelly L. Parsons, and Natasha M. Bryan. “Get the Story Straight: Contextual Repetition Promotes Word Learning from Storybooks.”Frontiers in Psychology 2 (2011): 17. PMC. Web. 10 June 2016.
Mcneilly Purcell, Linda. “Vancouver”. 15 Sept. 2015. Digital Image.
— “Whistler”. 01 June 2016. Digital Image.